HOUSTON (AP) ¿ Energy equipment company Powell Industries Inc. said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings climbed 18 percent, beating analyst expectations as cheaper raw materials costs bolstered margins.

Quarterly earnings rose to $9.9 million, or 85 cents per share, compared with $8.3 million, or 72 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated a profit of 66 cents per share for the period ended Sept. 30.

Revenue declined 1 percent to $165.3 million from $167.1 million. Analysts forecast revenue of $159.5 million.

For the full year, earnings rose to $39.7 million, or $3.43 per share, from $25.9 million, or $2.26 per share. Revenue climbed to $665.9 million from $638.7 million.

Powell CEO Patrick McDonald warned that the coming fiscal year will be more challenging.

"We enter the year with a much lower backlog, and uncertainties in the economic climate continue to influence project opportunities," McDonald said.

The company did not provide 2010 estimates, but said it plans to discuss its outlook at its Dec. 16 conference call.
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